Albania is one of those countries where I didn't really know what to expect. Recent history saw the collapse of communism in the 90s which caused the economy to crash. Since then It has made remarkable economic progress, growing from one of the poorest nations in Europe to a middle-income country, with poverty declining by half during that period. We travelled from north to south and back again taking in a few places along the way. The people are friendly, the food is good, it has decent weather, and everything is extremely cheap. Here's some of what I got up to with Adders, extreme_ironing, Otter and Reenie.
In the main square of Tirana the National History Museum has this famous mosaic called 'The Albanian' on the front. It tells the story of how Albanians have fought against invasion and occupation throughout the centuries.
Just down the road are these colourful government buildings
In the middle of the countryside we passed this communist monument, the 5 red stars symbolising communist ideology
Shëngjin Naval Base
After an epic fail elsewhere we headed to this small naval base which turned out to be pretty cool. I've already written a separate report on this so I won't include much about it here.
Fier Power Plant
Fier Power Station was Albania's largest thermal power plant having 6 identical groups of 31 MW each, totalling a capacity of 186 MW. The plant was decommissioned in 2007. Much of the site next to it was a fertiliser factory powered by the plant. The whole site has been completely stripped now, leaving just bland shells of buildings. The imposing chimneys and cooling towers however remain visible for miles as a reminder of its former importance.
Old security office next to the original gate
Always wanted a shot of adders pissing
Cooling tower ladders have long since been removed
The best bit about this place was taking in the views from one of the factory towers, although the staircase was a bit of a headfuck
Factory buildings below
The turbine hall. Amazingly two security guys appeared from nowhere and made us leave before we could grab any shots of the inside. You're really not missing much though as the turbines have been removed along with everything else. Why anyone is securing it is completely beyond me!
Kombinati Metalurgjik, Elbasan
Elbasan is located about 50km from the capital of Albania, Tirana. The Kombinati Metalurgjik steel works, a flagship of the Albanian industry, was built between the 1960s and 1970s. The complex was built by Chinese engineers with the assistance of Albanian specialists. The levels of pollution caused by the plant were the subject of much controversy in the 90s. The size of the site is colossal but only a few buildings remain operational today. Much of it is derelict beyond repair or has already been flattened.
Most of the buildings you see in the distance here are barely standing. You can see the remains of a blast furnace to the left.
The only buildings worth a look were located right next to the live site. This one was locked up tight with several dogs acting as security inside.
Next door a few buildings were wide open
Buckets for pouring molten steel
Small control room. After this we went back to the car and found an old man shaking his walking stick at us angrily so we left.
There were a few more buildings full of stuff that we didn't manage to get into as they were well locked up. Definitely a bit more to see here I think but nothing too epic.
Përrenjas - Locomotive Graveyard
The country's first standard gauge line was built in 1947. From then on the construction of the country's rail network underwent significant development as Albania was considered to be the only state in Europe not to have standard rail service. By 1987, 677 km of railway had been constructed in total, linking the main urban and industrial centres for the first time since the end of World War II. Train transport was the main transportation method until 1990. After the collapse of Communism, and increase in use of motor vehicles, the network fell into disrepair. Today the country's rail network is almost entirely defunct. In Përrejas we visited this group of abandoned diesel ČKD T669 locomotives.
Përrenjas abandoned station. There was a man inside there who didn't appreciate us climbing on the trains
Pyramid of Tirana
On 14 October 1988, the pyramid opened as a museum about the legacy of Enver Hoxha, the long-time leader of Communist Albania, who died in 1985. When built, the pyramid was said to be the most expensive individual structure ever constructed in Albania. After 1991, following the collapse of Communism, the museum closed and for several years it was repurposed as a conference centre and exhibition venue. During the 1999 Kosovo War, the former museum was used as a base by NATO and humanitarian organisations. Since 2001, part of the Pyramid has been used as a broadcasting centre by Albanian media outlets Top Channel and Top Albania Radio. Numerous proposals have been made to demolish the structure but the majority of Tirana's citizens are against the demolition. In 2017 it was announced that the pyramid will not be demolished, but refurbished. In 2018, a new project was unveiled that would turn the Pyramid into a technology centre for youth focused on computer programming, robotics, and start ups.
Inside I bumped into a sleepy eyed squatter who invited me to take a look around.
We meant to have a pop at this under construction skyscraper overlooking the main square but unfortunately ran out of time
Not a particularly impressive view from up here but certainly a unique one
A few friends we made along the way
A bunker full of goats all set for the apocalypse. Just one of the 173,371 bunkers in Albania!
Thanks for looking!
Visited with 3 non members not really knowing much about the place other than it looked pretty cool from the outside. Damp and water damage had done a pretty good job on the place but it was still well worth visiting and the start of an amazing day.
Can't really find much on this place but before its abandonment, it was owned by a local water authority in relation to the nearby reservoir of the same name.
these animals were positioned exactly like this when i found them, honest...
This was the second of two places we looked at, and was one of those 'we probably won't get into this one' places. It's always a bonus when you're pretty much convinced you wont get in then turn up & end up getting in 😀 The place was covered with mushrooms (Jews Ear apparently) and mould has taken it's hold on the place, by the time i got to the second floor started to feel a bit queasy breathing it all in, reminded me to get some masks for next time. A pretty cool place, with plenty to see and a variety of 'funky' lampshades... Started losing daylight by the time we reached the 3rd floor so the pics started to get gradually worse.
Not sure exactly when it opened but it was up & running in the 1930's. In it's day it stood on it's own extensive grounds over 3 acres. The greater portion of this was devoted to sun bathing and recreational lawns. The remainder was largely a kitchen garden which provided fresh garden produce to the tables.
Quote from its promotional literature "The views from the bedrooms are delightful. Those on the front and on one side have an open outlook over the sea, the others overlook the golf links and the open country. Your views are in every room open, nothing shuts in any part of BRADDA PRIVATE HOTEL. 'BRADDA' has been entirely redesigned, enlarged, redecorated and refurnished, and is now one of the most beautiful hotels in the Island"
Unsure exactly when it closed but from what i can tell it was around 2015.
A proposal to demolish the dilapidated hotel and erect a residential care home, along with car parking, access and highway alterations, was submitted by Spaldrick Care Ltd in September last year.
The developer estimated construction of the home would cost £5 million and create 60 full-time jobs.
Around thirty families objected to the plans, as well as Port Erin Commissioners and the government's planning committee.
Concerns were raised over the scale of the development, its impact on views, privacy, traffic and parking, as well as its conformity with both the Southern Area Plan, and the all-Island Strategic Plan.
The plans were initially overruled by the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture. However following a successful appeal by the developer this year, and on the recommendation of the planning inspector, the plans got the green-light.
some of the lampshades
some of the lovely mold & decay the place had to offer